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Posts Tagged ‘snow lanterns’


First of all, let me show you what it looks like these days when I leave the city and go up to the summer house – and the garden…

Snow roadThis is what it looks like when I walk from the bus stop – end of the line – towards the summer house. The road has the forest to one side and some natural plots to the other, so it gives an all-together feeling of being away from the city. You do see houses on the left, but very few – and they are sheltered by trees and hedgerows.

Snowy Forest

To the right the forest spreads out; a mix of mainly oak and beech with pines and larks in-between. And lots of honey suckle, but you don’t really notice these in winter…

Deer Beds

In the garden, the first thing that you notice is that there are several spots where the snow has been melted away, even though it has been freezing consistently for weeks. This is where the deer have lain down to sleep, thus melting away the snow on the lawn. I find this very charming, and today two of these spots were clearly fresh – and there was a third one (top left of the picture) that was perhaps from last night or the night before.

Deer tracks

Actually, the snow makes it pretty easy to see how frequented our garden is by wildlife. Most of these tracks are by deer, but a few of them seem to come from smaller animals with paws rather than hoofs. Perhaps a fox? And of course lots of birds, ranging from the size that HAS to be crows to the smaller ones that might be tits or robins.

Robin / Erithacus rubecula

I have one robin that seems to like the covered terrace; while the great tits and the blue tits come in pairs – or flocks at times – there is only ever one robin at a time on the terrace, and I like to imagine it’s the same one. And now when there’s snow all around it seems – oddly enough – that the tits are less keen on the feeding balls, whereas the robin keeps coming. He/she doesn’t like the hanging balls, though, preferring instead to feed on the seeds that fall off when the tits are feeding, so I decided to leave a feed ball on the paving for him/her, and he/she really seems to enjoy this. (Please note how – apart from the tail and the beak – the bird seems to be as round as the feed ball…)

Snowy Puddles

Also, just because people seem to like this garden feature / folly, here is a view of The Puddles… You can just make out the outlines of the third one at the back, but really they are all frozen over and covered in snow. I hope this means my water lilies will be safe beneath the blanket of snow, but you never know… After all, they are rather shallow, so I might have to start over in spring.

Anyway, back to what this entry was supposed to be about – which was not wildlife, but snow lanterns!

Lanterns in the snow

Strictly speaking, these aren’t snow lanterns, but when the snow is deep enough, why not just immerse lanterns in the snow?

Lanterns in the snow

Now, those among you of a nautical persuasion might argue that I placed the lanterns in the wrong order (red = port and green = starboard), but these pictures where taken from the entrance to the terrace, so clearly they will then be in the right order when you approach the harbour / house. And after all, nautical markers are normally placed so they make sense when you approach port, rather than when you are leaving it…

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On Friday afternoon – November 30th – I was finishing off the last cut of the lawn when I was rudely interrupted by downpour of the non-liquid sort! It was snowing, and even though it was only a very light snow fall I figured one shouldn’t mow the lawn while it was snowing in any description.

So come Saturday December 1st – the first day of winter according to the Danish calendar – I woke up to this:

Snowy lawn

Yes, that is my lawn. All my mowing work hidden beneath a blanket of white which – although pretty – rather destroyed my attempts to make the lawn look good for winter. Not that a snow-clad lawn doesn’t look good, of course, but it would have looked equally good if I hadn’t mowed it… Dammit!

snowy  garden

It does give a certain romantic Christmas feel to the house and the garden, though, when the snow is covering everything. (And that picture was taken yesterday; today it looks even better!)

Snowy garden

This photo was taken this morning. More snow, and yes I know that a phone camera is hardly the right tool to capture the movement of snowflakes, but you will just have to accept the stripy nature of that picture…

Snowy dogwood

The red dogwood branches looked particularly striking with a covering of snow on them.

Oh, if you knew how Spring used to be good!
Snow-white branches, like stretched-out verses,

snow-white on blue.

By day and by night stood my mighty

heart of burning joy

with wide-open door towards each fracture of light

and towards each little sound.

(Morten Nielsen, 1922-1944)

Snowy goldenrods

The goldenrods look amazing in the snow; like white fireworks exploding in the borders! Of course, almost any plant looks amaxing with a dusting of snow; it somehow just seems to negate their brief glory and reassure them that there is another life, another way to be beautiful. Even withered and old, perennials can still be stunning.

(And I must confess, the fluffy spikes of the goldenrods looked pretty damned amazing even before the snow!)

Snowy Puddles

And in-between all this snow there is ice, too. The Puddles have iced over, though not solidly enough for the snow to settle on the ice , yet. Eventually, though, they will freeze quite deep, and I just hope they won’t freeze to the bottom so my water lilies might survive. In normal ponds and small lakes the water will rarely freeze beyond 6 inches, but since The Puddles consist of still-standing water in a very small quantity they might freeze deeper. (And they are only a foot deep…)

Snowy forest

The snow makes the forest near our holiday home look amazing, though; it’s like walking through a fairy tale! I love the forest in spring, but really it probably looks its best with a coat of snow… Everything is so quiet, so muted by the softness of the snow, and even the stark branches of oaks and beeches take on a poetic nature.

We are stuck right between the forest and the fjord, so here’s the other part of our winter:

Snowy fjord

The fjord looks beautiful in proper winter weather; the shore is snow-clad, and the rocks in the shallows show signs of icing-over on the wind-side. I must confess I really want to see this from my kayak, but by now the temperature in the fjord waters will be low enough to kill you quite easily, so I remain ashore.

Snow lantern

And if you have no way of going – safely – to sea, and your lawn is flat and white and dull, what better way to spice it up than by building a snow lantern or two? The Americans might have high-jacked the Jack-o-lantern, but here in Scandinavia we still have our snow lanterns. They are not tied to a specific festival of any kind; merely something you build in the midst of winter to bring some light into the darkness.

Snow lanterns

(The different hues are because I use glass tea-light holders to shelter the candles from the snow beneath, and one happened to be red and the other petroleum green. It looks a bit garish when there’s just the two of them, but if we were to have guests up here I might build enough to make it seem like every snow lantern was a different, glistening jewel.)

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